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Raikkonen poised to return to F1 with Williams
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Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Sep 2011   |  4:10 pm GMT  |  229 comments

Kimi Raikkonen is on the verge of signing a deal to return to F1 with Williams.

The 2007 world champion has been in discussions with the team for several weeks, following a recent visit to the factory in Grove. Sources suggest that discussions are going the right way and they are now close to a deal.

It is understood that the Finn, who will be 32 next month, is keen to get back into F1 competition after two years on the sidelines in rallying. The timing is significant as Williams are on the look out for a bold move to boost the team and Raikkonen can see that the F1 driver landscape is likely to change a lot at the end of 2012 and a strong season, reminding everyone what he can do, might open some doors.

Michael Schumacher’s comeback is both a positive example, but also a warning to the Finn as it took the seven times champion some time to get up to speed. Raikkonen has kept sharp by competing in world rally for the past two seasons, but at the same time he will take a while to get fully up to speed with the Pirelli F1 tyres. All his rivals will have a year’s experience on them.

From Williams’ point of view, team boss Adam Parr will want to make a bold move after a season to forget in 2011. He has hired a new technical team, led by Mike Coughlan, with Dr Mark Gillan (who is here in Singapore) in charge of race operations and Jason Sommerville as chief aerodynamicist. His other options are to retain Rubens Barrichello, hire a known quantity like Heikki Kovalainen or go for a rookie alongside Pastor Maldonado. Or he could wait to see whether a Robert Kubica comeback might dislodge Bruno Senna from Renault. Rumours of a connection with Adrian Sutil have been firmly denied on both sides.

One thing is for sure, Williams are likely to finish 9th in the Constructors’ Championship this year and that will mean a shortfall in prize money and sponsor bonus money.

However most major sponsor contracts have a clause where they pay more if a world champion comes to the team and that may be another factor to encourage the Raikkonen move, particularly if his wage demands are reasonable.

Hiring Raikkonen would be a very bold statement from Williams as he is a world champion and an 18 times race winner. He certainly has the speed and the skills to compete with the best in F1, will certainly get some eye catching results and his name might also help attract a sponsor or two, although he is not known for being keen on promotional appearances. For F1 it would mean that there would be 6 world champions in the field of 24 drivers, which has never happened before in its 61 year history. The feeling in the paddock is that it would be a good thing, if it happens.

The possible question mark with Raikkonen is motivation; he seemed to have run out of motivation in his final season with Ferrari in 2009 and driving what is likely to be a midfield car, even if it is a regular points challenger, he will be seeking to prove a point rather than win races.

One key relationship he will not have to develop from scratch is with new Williams technical director Mike Coughlan, who worked with the Finn at McLaren from 2002 until his move to Ferrari in 2006. They know each other well.

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229 Comments
  1. Ram says:

    Kimi on the grid would be great … and the Williams Renualt reunion could be what the iconic williams may need … pastor will obviuosly keep the bean counters happy and Kimi would provide the exposure and aura that it needs … it would be a bold and gusty move by the Williams team to put Raikkonen back in the grid ….

    1. Jordon191 says:

      I agree that having Kimi back would be great, and I was never his biggest fan. But I have never understood the ‘Kimi lacked motivation after winning the world championship’ cliche. The 2009 Ferrari was a dog, and yet Kimi won at Spa and notched some nearly impossible podiums the second half of the season, when Ferrari had ceased all development. James reported in his Nov. 2009 column (The Top 5 Drivers of 2009) that even the Ferrari engineers were mystified at the speed Kimi was finding. Remember how well Fisicella fared in the same car? Just because a person is quiet and doesn’t blather yippy-skippy cliches all the time does not mean that he lacks motivation.

      1. dstaisey says:

        Agree 100%

      2. jay says:

        I COULD NOT AGREE MORE… and when he decided it was ice cream time, I thought, fair enough… knowing where he stands kimi will be a far different beast as he WILL fight to be the fastest… the family ‘atmosphere’ of Ferrari were not suitable to the Iceman… “I wanna race, f%&k off with your irrelevant shit”… lets se what he is able to do by the 5th race… GO KIMI!!!

      3. Tom says:

        For me his performance in 2008 (or at least my memory of it) was much more “demotivated” than that in 2009. He would regularly just cruise around then pop in the fastest lap of the race five laps from the end

        Regardless, I would love for him to return to F1. Some people say he doesn’t have a personality – personally I think he has more than most of the rest of them put together, he just likes to keep himself out of the media spotlight.

      4. F1_Badger says:

        I agree with u all. I’ve always admired his defiance to fit the mould, not go mention his speed. having kini back on the grid will be awesome for the fans and sport.

        Williams and Renault back together, a disgraced technical genius back in the sport and a highly criticised (by some) ex world champion at the helm…if ever there was the recipe for an F1 film…..

      5. Jaco says:

        I think the biggest question mark around his motivation was in 2008 – he just didn’t seem to really care about his position in the Championship, and after his start to the season everyone expected him to win another Championship easily. In 2009 Massa again seemed to be doing better than him until his accident – only when Massa was no longer racing did Kimi seem to be back to his former self.

      6. “only when Massa was no longer racing did Kimi seem to be back to his former self.”

        Kimi’s Ferrari started to work better half way thru the 09 season as the team put more effort into his car… that is until Ferrari wrote off that season completely.

      7. elie says:

        I will go one step further and say he is one of the most prolific drivers F1 has ever seen. He could easily have won three more world championships with Maclaren had the Mercedes engine been half reliable. He drove back to pits once with a badly flaking front tyre, less than one second off the pace and was even set on fire in the pits and still went out & had a great race. I rate him up there with Senna & Schumacker without a doubt.

      8. Kimixiii says:

        Exactly

    2. Richard Mee says:

      I agree with the bold and gutsy part by Williams.
      I must be one of the few who is decidedly ‘Meh’ about Kimi coming back.

      I don’t know him personally – but drawing adjectives from the sum of my overall exposure to him – self-serving, fearless, unsentimental, charmless, shy – it’s a very mixed bag.

      I guess that must be the appeal to some? – so long as those who do love him don’t delude themselves for one minute that he gives a toss about you back.

    3. Michael C says:

      “Kimi on the grid would be great … and the Williams Renualt reunion could be what the iconic williams may need”

      I’m not convinced of that yet. Williams seems to have lots of internal problems. They seem to be low on sponsors/funding and have everyone in the team wearing 4-5 hats. Until they solve the [human] resources problems, I don’t see the stars lining up for Williams.

      Kimi and a real engine would definately be a step in the right direction, though both would cost more than the current setup.

    4. halifaxf1fan says:

      This is a huge story and great for F1.

  2. Stu says:

    Well James, if you are writing about it then it must be true – such is the stock of you and your website.

    :-)

    1. James Allen says:

      It is true that it’s got to this point. Now we see if they get the deal done.

      1. Abhishek says:

        James,

        That would be great for F1 and spectators.

      2. kowalsky says:

        don’t you think james that this drivers staying forever in f1 (barrichello, trulli, schumacher) and others wanting to come back to f1 tells a lot about todays f1.
        Kimi just couldn’t cut it in rallying, either thought nascar was going to be easy. He thought f1 was the “easiest way to race”.
        The top form of motorsports is the easiest. That can be right.

      3. Richard says:

        that’s not entirely true, although your point could be a factor for some drivers.

        the main reason f1 enjoys an ‘old guard’ and world champions want to come back is likely to be the challenge of competing at the top – they are world champions after all and have driven towards the pinnacle of motorsports since they were all very young.

        additionally, from the other side of the fence (or pit wall in this case) the teams themselves need huge amounts of experience and success to drive the development of the team and provide a benchmark for future generations. this is even more evident now, as there are so many regulation changes and updates constantly evolving the process and to have a benchmark provides teams with enormous collateral on which to build

      4. Andrew Carter says:

        Not true. Kimi’s biggest problem is a lack of application away from the race track and that there’s a lot of things with the sport he doest care for (like travelling, he couldnt be bothered to go to Rally Australlia, and a 36 race NASCAR season is too much for him).

      5. Richard says:

        hi james, do you think that rubens would be pushed aside rather than pastor? we know he brings in sponsorship but is that such a key driver given their new financial set up?

  3. Alan says:

    Hi James,

    This is certainly great news for us F1 fans…6 consecutive world champions (from 2000 to 2010) competing all season long next year is something I am really looking forward to. If Mika Hakkinen joins the bunch then it will be even better ;o)

    Alan
    Toronto, Canada

  4. Rob Newman says:

    The return of Kimi will be good for F1. Eventhough he is known as a ‘lazy’ driver, he is a world champion.

    It is not going to be good news for Rubens. I think the biggest mistake he did was trying to ignore team orders at Ferrari, voicing his comments in the public and then leaving the team. Had he put up at Ferrari, he could have won many more races. Now he is paying the price.

    Massa must be going through the same emotions at Ferrari but he knows it will be difficult for him if he leaves the team just like Rubens did. If you are not the best driver in the sport, then sometimes you have to shut up and put up.

    1. Tom says:

      Rubens drove a WDC and WCC winning car in 2009…

    2. Liam of Sydney says:

      Not sure I agree with you Rob. Just because you are there as a no.2 doesn’t make them feel any better. Once you are a rich man, you don’t need to think about money any more. Then you are left with thinking about things like morals, values, and principles. Rubens obviously had his values compromised too much, so left Ferrari. Plus he knew he was probably going to be on the losing end of Ferrari’s new golden haired boy Massa.

  5. Phil Cee says:

    Wow. I didn’t even read the rumours at first as I thought they were silly season nonsense, but if you say Williams and Kimi are ‘on the verge’ then I’ll take it a touch more seriously.

  6. kamran says:

    let it be true plz plz plz, we want the king of spa back, 6 world champs in batteling it out. bring on 2012

  7. Dean says:

    As much as I would love to see Kimi back in F1 I just don’t understand why he would choose Williams. Kimi has said he would only consider coming back to F1 if he has a title-challenger underneath him and not just to make some points…I just don’t get it. The man is such an enigma!

    1. mad max says:

      What other choice has he?

      The top teams are locked out for another year and there’s no way they would take a chance on him then after been out so long.

      If he impresses in the Williams next year he might then be able to get the vacant Red Bull or Ferrari seat at end of the year depending on what type of contract he signs with Williams.

    2. Michael Owen says:

      Could it be a sighter year and getting himself ready for Red Bull 2013 once Webber stands down?

    3. james b says:

      Agree with the other comments. He has to basically prove himself again and prove to the top teams he is motivated.

      He is still young at 32. He could do 2 years at Williams and then move to a bigger team when he would only be 34.

      One thing no one in F1 doubts I think is that a motivated Kimi in my view is in the class of Ham Vet and Alo

      1. Liam of Sydney says:

        Yes but that is your opinion, not something that everyone else necessarily agrees with.

        I don’t think Kimi will be able to find a seat in 2013 anyway. He would not be willing to share a team with a potentially better competitor, and it is hard to believe Seb will let him roost in his own team. Same with Fernando. But I think McLaren is Kimi’s only other potential seat. Maybe he could crawl back to Norbert looking for a seat?

      2. James b says:

        I think you hit on 2 potentials at both mclaren and mercedes. Also, don’t forget red bull are very close to him and who is to say that if vettel wins another championship in 13 that he doesn’t move on? F1 moves fast and kimi is a talent that people will want.

        I saw in another thread you commented on why Williams would want kimi for just a year? I agree in a way and think they would like a 2yr deal. However Williams really aren’t the force they once were and getting a cut price kimi is a massive boost – even if it’s just for one year (although ideally 2!)

    4. Rishi says:

      Whatever the long-term I’m still not sure I can picture Kimi Raikkonen wanting to qualify 13th and then drive flat-out to finish 9th. He has always been ‘in it to win it’ and at times demotivation has tended to set in if he feels he can’t win.

      It’s funny how drivers cope with leaving F1. Raikkonen is reminding me quite a lot of Jacques Villeneuve: both were, in a sense, free spirits in the sport, strongly disliked the PR (“the bullshit” as Raikkonen would call it) and both, when they left F1, felt they’d reached a point where they could ‘take or leave’ F1. Yet a few years down the line they are/were both doing everything they can to get back in – seemingly happy to accept the parts of the job they previously disliked (facing the media, the prospect of not being in race-winning car).

      I guess one reason is that after F1 it’s not always obvious where to go (something Michael Schumacher also discovered). It is the fastest accelerating formula, the pinnacle of motorsport and life elsewhere must seem slower and harder to adjust – whatever F1′s negatives. The obvious alternative – sportscars/Le Mans – suits some people but probably not others because the focus is on endurance more than one-lap speed. Regarding World Rally, I guess Raikkonen thought he’d get better results than he has done, then there’s the thing about World Rally events being more spaced out. Both have tried to get into NASCAR too but I think the issue in NASCAR is you need to have established yourself Stateside to get a big drive. Juan Pablo Montoya got his drive mostly because Chip Ganassi raced him in Champ Cars – where he won the title and they became good mates (over a decade had passed between Villeneuve’s Indycar success and his NASCAR debut).

      Regarding Raikkonen – when he left F1 I felt him and the sport had sort of ‘outgrown’ each other in some sense. But possibly for the reasons above it seems Raikkonen loves the speed and wants to get back and give it a go. I’m not sure he’ll quite hit the heights he did at McLaren in 2005 (for instance) but he should still be quick and maybe he will surprise us with his motivation to try and ‘punch above the team’s weight’ – even if that means 9th place.

      1. jonas says:

        I have not heard even a single word about this possible come-back to F1 from Kimi himself and I also see his interviews in his native language.

        I don’t think you can call him desperate to get back to F1 when we haven’t heard anything about it from himself.

        The desperate guys are those who come to the F1 races and talk to the teams there. Nobody seems to be interested but they still come to the races to talk to try to get a contract. This is what Villeneuve did. I really don’t see Kimi ever doing the same in his lifetime.

      2. jay says:

        reubens…

    5. Williams is getting the Renault engine for 2012 and Frank hired some top people to get the team back to the top. Besides Williams is a public company so if things go well there can be a payout at the end.

  8. Chris Cooper says:

    You’re sure this isn’t just a rumor that started on tabloid sites? I hope not because I consider your articles above those. Kimi is still a headline grabber so his name seems to be mentioned whenever possible in order to cash in on a couple more page views.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, I didn’t do anything on it at that stage. Here in Singapore paddock , with a lot of digging, I’ve come to the conclusions posted above. Now we will see if they can get it across the line.

      1. Davexxx says:

        James, like many people I’m having doubts, even though most of us do trust you.
        (a) there have been so many ‘official denials’ of Kimi joining Williams, and (b) surely someone as good as Kimi would prefer going to a better team. Even Schumi had to wait until Ross had the mighty title-winning Braun available to tempt him (sadly for him it morphed into the lesser Mercedes, or rather, other teams successfully overtook them!). Naturally you can’t name your sources but can we ask what info and (nameless) sources allowed you to have the confidence to write this article?!

      2. James Allen says:

        I’m not saying he’s definitely coming back, only that the discussions are well advanced. But so they were with McLaren in late 2009 and that didn’t happen. Let’s be clear about that. I’m looking in this piece at the reasons why things have got so advanced. I do not know whether it will actually get signed.

      3. jay says:

        james Allen. Being such a beacon of information for us formula one fans, it really is nice to hear a member of the media admit that they don’t know the answer… thank you…

  9. Peter says:

    I see Kimi and Red bull made for each other and that is the only environment where I can see the old, uncompromisingly fast and focused Kimi being back. Williams however could be a good move and from Kimi’s point of view a smart step to get back the feeling of an F1 car. I think WRC requires huge concentration and I consider Kimi as one of the bests, if not the most gifted driver of any motor-vehicle, therefore feeling the car won’t be an issue. I also strongly disagree with people who say his rallys have been disappointing. He has shown strong development and is always amongst the top 10 finishers this year, mixing with guys who has been doing rallys for 15-20 years. People are crazy to expect him to beat Loeb and the best Finnish rally drivers after two years. He is a great guy and one of the fastest of all time and I don’t care how much he is liked by PR guys.

    1. Christer says:

      I totally agree with you. Kimi can perform in any sportscar. He is so talented and i´m positive that if he is motivated he will even perform well in a Williams.

  10. zombie says:

    This is fantastic news! Raikkonen has to arguably one the most liked personalities in F1 ever! He has a huge fan base around the world and people love his nonchalant and ice-cold personality! This is a master stroke by Williams!The ‘Iceman’ cometh!!

    1. Yomi says:

      I wish McLaren had the guts and paired him up with Hammi…that would have been an EPIC duel! On par with 2007.

      I’m just glad the Kimister is on is way back! The ‘Iceman’ cometh indeed!!! I hope Williams provide a half decent machine in 2012.

      1. marco says:

        he must come back for one year in the Williams and then move onto Redbull and give finger boy a lesson … Come on Ice Man

        PS: his only championship is with Ferrari …

        Forza Ferrari !!

  11. Ross says:

    I think everyone would be delighted to see him back but I cant think of anyone in the modern era of F1 who has left F1 and returned to their previous success.

    Alain Prost had a year out and won the world championship but it could be argued that almost anyone could have won in that car.

    Williams really need to do something spectacular to buck this downward trend. This may just be that very thing.

    Even if they do not sign Raikkonen I would they do not keep Barrichello and he retires gracefully. It’s been an amazing run but the party is over.

    One downside to this move is it means yet another seat is not going to a young driver. I thought it made a lot of sense with the Renault tie in to put Roman Grosjean in at Williams. Now it look’s very unlikely that him or any new talent will find a seat next year.

    Rubens and Heidfeld are talking about drives next year. Trulli somehow has a contract for next year. Schumacher and Webber know fine well they will never win a championship again.

    As Michael Stipe said only this week ‘It takes a wise man to know when it’s time to leave the party’

    1. James Allen says:

      Lauda did pretty well on his comeback

      1. kowalsky says:

        and prost. But that’s about it.

    2. Dave Aston says:

      I don’t know if Schumacher thinks he’ll never win a championship again.

      1. Richard Milnes says:

        No, you’d be a fool to put your house on that.

    3. Richard says:

      does that mean that kubica will be rubbish too? raikkonen is a massively talented driver, he’s not going to be any worse than a very dependable asset

      i think it’ll be great!

      1. Ross says:

        I dont think we will ever see Kubica back on the grid.

      2. kowalsky says:

        agree

      3. jay says:

        agree…

    4. DanielS says:

      Well, in order for Webber to win a Championship “again” he would first need to win one.

      As far as Schumacher is concerned, I think it’s foolish to think he doesn’t believe he has a shot at another Championship. Look at the way he drove at Monza and tell me that’s a man who doesn’t think he has what it takes. No way – Schumacher still thinks he’s the best: he knows in 2011 he doesn’t have the car, but I would bet my life on the fact that he believes he would be a genuine contender in a competitive car.

      1. jay says:

        not a shumi fan until this year when his sportsmanship began to surface… 2013 could be another wdc for m. Scumacer… Kim I has shown that he can race w/ the best… technology what it is, talent ALWAYS wins out..

  12. Ali says:

    Please please please let this be true. I have missed Kimi in F1 a lot in the last 2 years – way more than I thought I would (especially as I’ve been following his rallying career).

    On the ever present question of motivation, I can’t believe Kimi would bother to come back if he didn’t want to race. He might ask for a decent salary but that can hardly be his motivation (he must have enough of the stuff to last a couple of lifetimes), so I don’t see how he would be anything but 100% committed.

    From my personal point of view, I can’t wait to see him back racing. Spa has not been the same without his skill around the track. Nor have the pre/post race interviews without his hysterical mumblings.

    Also, Kimi’s come back will mean I’ll have to buy Williams’ merchandise so that’s a financial win for the team. What have they got to lose :)

  13. gonzeche says:

    Williams goes from bad to worse.

  14. Fergal says:

    Make that 7, if Webber can pull off an upset!

  15. young slinger says:

    Talk about desperation!

  16. Dave Aston says:

    This is an interesting prospect. He’d certainly be the quickest guy they’ve had since… Montoya? As for his motivation, I imagine being away has made him realise where he thinks he really belongs, motorsport-wise, and he will feel rejuvenated at the prospect of bringing Williams closer to the front. As an aside, for middle aged guys like me, it’s nice to see someone who will have driven for each of the pre Red Bull big teams, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams. I think it would be great news, I hope it happens!

    1. jonas says:

      Yeah, and Kimi didn’t have trouble beating Montoya at McLaren.

      Although I think Montoya was better than what he showed at McLaren. I think he left F1 too early. I guess he just didn’t like Ron Dennis much!

  17. Dom says:

    I hope this happens – Kimi’s a great racer if the team engineer a car to suit his style and he has minimal PR work I’m sure he’ll be happy. It might also galvanise the Williams team a little bit and be just what they need – a driver who wants in at RedBull or Mclaren for 2013/14.

    1. Sebee says:

      I’m also thinking like you that Kimi at McLaren in 2013 is the long game here.

      1. Pranav says:

        If Kimi actually returns, Mercedes for 2013 could be a real possibility as well. MS is unlikely to continue beyond 2012.

    2. Mike says:

      I have to say that have you noticed how relaxed Kimi has been on rally PR. I don’t think he’s anymore the same mumbling person that few years ago. Hope seeing it 2012!

      1. Liam of Sydney says:

        But why would Williams employ someone for 1 year who is just going to dump them soon afterwards and run off to a ‘better’ seat?

        I can’t see this happening.

      2. MikeyB says:

        Because WCC points = FOM ca$h and bigger sponsorship deals for the future. 12 months with Kimi, even if he then moves upstream, has the potential of win-win for both parties.

  18. Marc Lister says:

    This would be fantastic for Williams. They’d be so much cooler for having the Iceman in the team.

    Not sure what his motivation is though. Williams won’t be challenging for wins, perhaps podiums if he’s fast and the car is reliable.

    1. Roddy says:

      seems they’ve managed to convince the Iceman they will have a car with some potential. If things go well I can see him moving to Mclaren after a year. Could that be why Whitmarsh is not committing to Button for more than a year??
      Button has been the class of this year’s drivers, imo, second only or on a par with Vettel.
      But the Iceman will be happy in the most romantic team on the grid [williams], and if they are smarter than Ferrari, [not difficult] they will make sure he’s happy.

      1. Kristiane says:

        You got it the wrong way round. It’s Button who wish to stick with short-term contracts. Martin wants to tie down Button for the long term.

  19. Paul J says:

    This is great news! I have been following this rumour for a while and I’m so glad that it really looks like a possibility. Williams just really need to do something – maybe hiring someone like Kimi will give everyone a huge boost. It’s a shame for old Rubens – I hope he can find a drive elsewhere.

  20. Sebee says:

    Clearly it’s a good move for Williams, and decent way to get back into things for Kimi. Not like he’ll be expected to fight for wins the way Schumi was.

    But the reality is, his shoes have been filled. We have so many top drivers that Kimi will have to work hard to get fan’s attention again. Look at all that has happened since he left?

    No doubt he brings value to F1, and perhaps this could be a different type of challange for Kimi. One where he’s not just getting into a fast car to win, but where he proves himself as a motivator and builder of a team. Hey – maybe pigs can fly!

    1. Baktru says:

      I disagree. I f Kimi comes back with Williams I’m immediately switching from my current Ferrari T-Shirt to a Williams T-Shirt for race weekends.

      Kimi would get the attention of plent of people straight away again.

  21. Spinster says:

    absolutely delighted with that news!

  22. SteveH says:

    This would be great. I really think Barrichello has not been the great development driver he is always touted as. It’s time to move on; the technical side has had a good cleaning and now it’s time to bring in a very fast driver who, hopefully, is motivated. Barrichello just needs to hang it up. I was interested in the Williams early this season, with their radical rear end, but it obviously went nowhere. Here’s hoping Kimi can bring some motivation and excitement to the team and that Williams is again fighting forward.

    1. Michael C says:

      “I really think Barrichello has not been the great development driver he is always touted as. It’s time to move on”

      It’s not like the team has had the resouces to develop the car for Rubens either. And I don’t see Kimi driving further development. If the team doesn’t deal with their internal issues, Kimi won’t go anywhere either.

      Replacing a man here and there isn’t the answer either. Williams is short on manpower and sponsorship. Hopefully Kimi can help with the latter which will in turn help with the former.

  23. Kimster says:

    Isn’t it 62 years of F1 racing?

  24. Ralph says:

    This won’t happen.

  25. Chris White says:

    I am neither here nor there too much over Kimi to Williams. I can see how he would be a great asset to Williams, but I think Rubens might be a better option (just my opinion).

    1. Douglas says:

      I have to agree with you, dropping RB in the hope that a “fresh” Kiki will perform better is probably an error. Still, this is getting people to talk about Williams again…

      1. Michael S says:

        Come on guys… Rubens has been retired for the past 2 years someone just forgot to tell him. Nice guy, but any pace he had is gone and he will be in his 40′s next year… F1 is not a game for 40 somethings…

      2. kowalsky says:

        i agree. But because the danger factor is gone, they stay in f1 well past their due date.
        Teams rather have one of this old timers because they don’t crash as often. And we the fans get a lesser formula because of it.
        I hope kimi comes back, he is still young and can bring some needed entetainment. But to tell you the truth i can’t see how he is going to be competitive in a williams.

      3. Douglas says:

        Tell that to Schumacher. He’d probably disagree, as would I. And I’m not just saying that because I’m in my 40′s. Rubens has another year or two of very competitive form left in him – given the right car he’ll hang it on the ragged edge to get a Drivers Title. He’s motivated in ways younger drivers are simply not.

  26. Andy Kempton says:

    Another big name comeback for F1 !
    This is a good thing for the sport, even if results dont go his way. Good luck to him !

  27. Rohan says:

    This is real tease of an article! More questions come out of it than anything:
    (1) Can Williams afford Kimi?
    (2) What’s in it for him – why come back to a midfield team? People know he is fast and is a proven race-winner – what’s left?
    (3) Is Kimi really known for his car development skills – something that will probably be needed at Williams (especially if replace Rubens)?

    I’m intrigued at first, but leaning towards not a great move for Kimi – will be a great coup for Williams though!

  28. will89 says:

    I think this would be a win/win situation for Williams, they need a morale boost, as well as a proven racer (I know Barrichello is proven, but he’s not in the same league as Raikkonnen in terms of raw speed), and Raikkonen could bring some extra sponsorship money in due to his “Former Champion” status.
    Further to that I think this will turn out to be a great incentive for Raikkonen personally, as he will be out to prove a point after 2 years away.
    If the Kimi/Williams deal goes through, then with 6 Champions across the grid I can’t imagine 2012 season being anything but amazing, let’s just hope all the teams can get quick cars out of the box this time around.

  29. Kristiane says:

    I’d rather Kimi return with McLaren. Nonetheless it’d be good to see him back to F1!!

    1. Sebee says:

      You may be onto something here. McLaren may be involved in this somehow. With all the Button to Ferrari stories (which make sense), and Lewis upsetting the cart by probably looking around as well, Kimi would get a year at Williams and then goes into McLaren in 2013 to fill it what gut feeling says will be a free spot in at least one car. I said many times that of the current grid no one fits at McLaren like the current drivers – but Kimi certainly would. And it would even allow McLaren to announce early in the season if needed. Plus it lifts responsibility for the season from Kimi and he goes into an environment which he knows.

      James – autocorrect changed my email and I can post, but I still can’t post under my original email. I think your scanning software is not liking my hotmail email.

  30. Hendrik says:

    James.. I was and still am under the impression that Kimi was going to go to NASCAR through Kyle busch motorsport. Does this potential move to williams mean that his rally dream is done? Secondly would Kimi be bringing money to Williams.. As the NASCAR move was seen to do with money..

    1. kowalsky says:

      he should have to pay 50000 dollars per race at nascar. Don’t you think is better to drive an f1 and getting paid for it?
      And after watching montoya making a fool of himself there, he thought better.
      After not winning anything for the past two years, he humbled down enough to come back to f1.
      Weird this f1 of today’s. Don’t you think?

  31. Michael Lea says:

    Kimi at Williams-Renault would be brilliant. I’m a massive Williams fan and they need something big to get them back up the grid. Kimi is a world class driver and was always one of the fastest out on track. He will be able to squeeze every last drop of speed out of the car and will hopefully attract a few more sponsors for them based on his champion status. Yes, he seemed to go off the boil a bit at Ferrari, but if he gets his mojo back he will add a bit of spice to the grid. I feel sorry for Barrichello if this turns out to be his last season and ideally Williams would pair him with Kimi. But the money from Venezuela will keep Pastor in the 2nd seat…

  32. Peter says:

    One of my problems with Williams is that they have been kind of characterless with recent drivers. They have got a great heritage, but they need a driver who’s got image. And Kimi certainly has a very fast, non-political and no-bull…image. From marketing and speed point of view Kimi would be a good step, but they will need to put a fast car together, which wheels the guy can drive-off.

  33. Lady Snowcat says:

    Yes please Frank…..

    I’d be much more focussed on F1 with Kimi in a Williams…

    I’ve missed him… and although I have enjoyed going rallying I still prefer F1…

  34. ACB says:

    It would be very good to see Kimi back, and it would be doubly good to see Williams with a WDC driving for them. Given how much Kimi is accustomed to being paid, I wonder how they would come about a deal? Never the less it looks like Rubens’ services will no longer be required.

  35. Nilesh says:

    Some stats:

    Raikkonen Alonso
    (2009) (2011)
    2 x DNF 1 x DNF
    1st x 1 1st x 1
    2nd x 1 2nd x 3
    3rd x 3 3rd x 3
    4th x 1 4th x 2
    5th x 0 5th x 1
    6th x 2 6th x 1
    7th x 0 7th x 1
    8th x 1 8th x 0
    9th x 1 9th x 0

    Raikkonen results from first three races and last race:
    10th x 2
    12th x 1
    14th x 1
    15th x 1

    Comparing the results from the Ferrari from 2009 and the Ferrari from 2011, the different in results between Kimi and Fernando are not too far apart. Also, Kimi set 10 fastest laps in 2008 which is when the questions about his motivation started surfacing. Was he setting fastest laps just to prove some point?

    1. Dom says:

      In 2008 the car wasn’t to his liking with too much understeer – he couldn’t get the fronts up to temerature – Ferrari should have supported him more.

    2. jonas says:

      Kimi was setting fastest laps in the races once his front tyres got up to good temperature.

      He said this many times. He said in Monza that year that it is like a switch is turned on. He set the fastest lap there as well.

      Also, let’s remember that he was leading the WDC in 2008 when strange problems started to happen to him. Many people seem to say how he sucked that year and they don’t mention at all that he was leading and had no problems keeping Massa in check. Ferrari screwed up with the car, then he had a few bad races, then late in the seaosn he got his better suspension back, and he was again faster than Massa. What was Ferrari doing? Why give him such a bad suspension for many races? How hard was it to switch back to the old? They waited several races for the switch back but Kimi was vocal about it in every race that went bad.

      1. WE says:

        Absolutely true Jonas. Ask myself why “experts” can’t remember Kimi led WDC 2008 until after summer break when Ferrari developed the car in a totally wrong direction – well it all seemed to fit for Felipe. Well what should we expect of a team who lost the WDC 2010 with a comfortable lead for Alonso going in2 Abu Dhabi. ……..hey! remember qualifying Brasil 2007 & Kimi’s response to Lewis obstructing his last pole lap in turn 4?? …. “It does’nt make a difference, i can still win the race from position 4″ ….. No Massa, Alonso, Hamilton Drama …..pure coolness ……And he WON race/DC!!! ……Will be great having him back, Williams 2012 can’nt be worse than Ferrari 2009

  36. terryshep says:

    This is a strange story. I’ve been taking note of various hacks twittering about this for a while, without affording them much belief; however, when James takes it up from Singapore, I have to believe there is some truth in it.

    Still, I ask, why Williams? Present results would suggest that Force India or his old team, Sauber are better propositions, or even Renault, who feel they have some claim on fame still, despite being a mere shadow of their former self.

    Kimi has been very successful in WRC, scoring points regularly. If he was a young entrant to WRC, he’d be hailed as a possible Rally champion on the basis of his results. He’s tried Nascar, doesn’t like it, what’s left? WRC or F1?

    Let’s not worry about development skills, Kimi takes any old heap from the garage and drives the wheels off it, like Ronnie Peterson could (sorry if you don’t know the name). This isn’t an issue for anybody but his engineers. His personal sponsors will no doubt support him through thick and thin, so money shouldn’t really be an problem. I’ll bet Bernie might chip in to get him back.

    Unless he feels that there is something brewing at Williams which we don’t know about yet, I wonder if F1 is ready for Kimi Raikonnen qualifying 15th and finishing out of the points?

    I’d really love him to come back, but please let him have a proper drive.

  37. Richard Milnes says:

    Wow, best news I’ve read for ages. A shame for Rubinho, though. Surely the end of a truly distinguished career.

  38. Peter Freeman says:

    James I thought that the last year Kimi was at Ferrari he was reported by his own engineers to have gotten speed out the car beyond their ability to understand. I remember Badoer and Fisi racing at the back while Kimi was towards the front…? The car was awful that year, and I had understood that Kimi pulled out a huge effort and was highly motivated…?

    1. Dom says:

      Indeed. Spa was a great victory for Kimi – and don’t forget him splitting the Brawns in qualie at Monaco with a brilliant lap.

  39. goferet says:

    Am really surprised with this move for I never thought Kimi would ever return to F1 because of his dislike for PR work.

    Yes, this just goes to show everybody wants a pie of the 2011 Formula 1 for not only are sponsors falling over themselves but now even retired drivers are coming out the woodwork

    But with Kimi, Frank Williams must think long & hard before hiring the iceman for not only is he famous for his love for magnum icecream but he also gets bored easily.

    In just two years he’s bored with WRC already, how long before he gets bored with F1 more so as he will be a monkey-at-the-back this time!

    Ha, if Kimi gets the deal, I can only imagine (in horror) the Kimi fans will be back to infest all F1 boards.

    1. Baktru says:

      We never left :)

  40. Charlie says:

    Hi James.

    I haven’t commented on this website since Kimi left F1. In fact I haven’t watched a race since 2009. I remember posting here that I’d probably stop watching F1 altogether if he left and someone angrily wrote that I was being melodramatic…

    I have a question (for anyone who’s willing to answer it): Is it possible that Red Bull have offered Kimi Webber’s seat in 2013 on the condition that he gets a year under his belt at another team? I can’t see Kimi wanting to mess around at the bottom of the grid for longer than a year. And I can’t see him doing it for any reason other than to advertise himself (as you hinted at) for 2013. A lot of people suspected that he had a long term future with Red Bull. What do you reckon?

    1. Chris says:

      It’s like you’ve read my mind. I get the feeling it’s like Bradley Smiths deal with Tech3 in Moto GP where he spends another year in Moto2.

  41. Simon L says:

    I really hope this Raikkonen/Williams pair-up happens, it would be great to have Kimi back in F1 and could give Williams the shot-in-the-arm that they so desperately need.

    However, I am rather surprised that, assuming this story is true, Raikkonen has chosen this route back into F1. With all due respect to Williams they are not the same force that they once were, and a nostalgic paint-job and engine deal isn’t about to change that.

    If there was any truth in the mooted ‘Raikkonen to Renault?’ deal from last year I would have thought they would be a far better team to try and get a drive with (assuming there’s no room in the top teams); generally speaking Renault have proven themselves a more competitive team than Williams over the past few years and would probably give Raikkonen a better shot at the podium. Even though Renault are having a bit of a headache with the Kubica/Petrov/Senna/Grosjean situation, I doubt they’d be able to say no to Kimi if he was available and wasn’t too demanding with wages.

    Whatever happens, Williams had better come up with a better car next year!

  42. Rajko says:

    Raikkonen coming?! GREAT!

  43. Chris says:

    If the old Kimi turns up this would be fantastic for Williams and F1. Remember what he did with the Sauber in his debut season. Sauber are still living off of those results. Please let this happen.

    1. Janet says:

      Wow, that’s just crazy! The iceman cometh? That’s just awesome! Bring it!

  44. AlexD says:

    Ok, let’s be realistic…Kimi is not going to achieve anything and I am very surprised to see him coming back with……..Williams? How strange it is….almost every team today is better that williams.
    I personally think that his comeback is going to be even worse that the one of schumacher. we have alosno, vettel, hamilton….and kimin in williams?
    What a joke…..

    1. Sebee says:

      They are 9th this year. Will certainly move up next year. Kimi will get some credit for that. It’s a perfect fit for one year. The more you think about it, the more it begins to make perfect sense.

  45. Sufyaan Patel says:

    Brilliant news… if it does eventually happen! Yes, its Williams (midfield) but maybe it’d be a stepping stone if he manages to prove himself. I’ve always had a feeling he would come back with Red Bull someday. With Williams linked to Renault and RB too, I wonder if this is someones cunning plan to see if Kimi has still got it. Apparently, he is friends with Vettel and they meet up, I’m sure SV must tell him about how good an Adrian Newey car is to drive ;) Though he knows that all too well from his days at Mclaren. Only time will tell if he ends up there (RB).

    Other factors to consider, Kimi’s been in rallying so I wonder if it has honed his skills in changeable/wet/damp conditions. I recall Kubica mentioning something along those lines. But being two totally different machines (rally and F1), I wonder if the skills are as transferable. Another thing to consider (if he does sign and if he stays with Williams) is his ability to help with car development???

    One things for sure, his speed will still be there! As for the motivation/commitment, in my opinion that was all a load of…. twaddle!

    Hoping for 6 WDC’ on the grid next year. Thats a qtr of the grid! :D

  46. Dizzy says:

    the finnish media have been reporting that kimi wants to run the daytona 500, le mans 24hrs & indy 500 next year.

    believe he has had a test with the peugeot le mans team recently.

  47. Dave_F1 says:

    since kimi was not renowned for his car development skills i dont see whats in it for williams?

    they need someone who can help them develop the car to get back towards the front & im not sure kimi would be able to help them with this based on what came out about kimi in this area in the past.

    1. Lady Snowcat says:

      Interesting that he worked with Mike Coughlin when at Macca…maybe Mike tempted Kimi to Williams…

      I think Kimi was good at car development when they listened to him…

      You may raise your eyebrows at my effectively suggesting that Ferrari didn’t listen to Kimi but perhaps translation of Kimi’s comments needs better minds than there were at Ferrari… you have to admit it is noticeable that Fred has effectively managed to ditch all those that Kimi had to work with in Ferrari… so despite his work ethic he obviously didn’t rate the people Kimi was relying on either…

    2. Roddy says:

      I could be wrong, but I wonder if this whole “car development skills” argument often used against Kimi has any real basis.
      his engineers at Ferrari had nothing but praise for him as regards his ability AND his feedback. Of course Domenicali may have a different view to them.
      But with the driver who has the biggest reputation for “cds”, have Ferrari fared all that much better than with Kimi?
      Not that I’ve heard!

      1. James Allen says:

        Kimi is very fast, everyone knows that. He has to rehabilitate his image within the sport after 2009 and that’s what would probably happen if he flew in a Williams next year

      2. jonas says:

        The race engineers have all said Kimi is very good in giving feedback.

        It’s the same as with Mika Häkkinen. These guys don’t blabber – but what they say is very important and you need to listen! This is how it should be from an engineering point of view. Unnecessary blabbering is just making it more difficult to do the work. These guys focus on the essential.

        If you listen to Kimi’s interviews from all throughout his F1 career, he’s always focused on the essential. It’s obvious he has great ability to separate the important things and focus on those. In many interviews the interviewer is getting a bit carried away and Kimi reminds him of the reality. This is very common in his interviews.

        And if you ask him “are you going to win?” he will say something like “how the hell could I know!” or something to that effect. It’s a very rational approach.

        Some other drivers blabber about all sorts of things to answer the same question, but they don’t actually say much. A lot of words of not much value – of course the interviewer likes that more because then he has a better story to pass on. I think this is one reason why many reporters seemed a bit upset about Kimi’s style – he was not giving them the long answers (with not much actual content) they were looking for so they got unhappy about him.

  48. Matt says:

    I think Raikkonen and Williams could be a good fit. I remember reading about his abilities in testing for Mclaren – how he would just go out and bang in lap after lap at metronomical pace. Williams need a driver who can really help develop a car. And on their side Williams don’t seem to ask as much of the drivers on the promotional side which he’s known to not be to keen on.

  49. Rob R. says:

    Kimi Raikkonen is the one driver who can possibly revive my interest in the moribund series that is F1.

    Whether it will actually amount to anything though is another question entirely, I’m sure Williams have been promising a “new dawn next season” for about the last 4 consecutive years now. Right? They’ve probably had more internal “reshuffles” than the Tory cabinet in 1996.

  50. Lewis J says:

    Kimi is good for F1. End of.

  51. paulusa says:

    I hope it happens. I really rate Kimi and running a year with Williams may get him a foot in the door with Renault, leading to a better seat the following year.

  52. Tom in adelaide says:

    I wonder how rumours like this affect Williams as a listed company? (regarding market disclosure rules etc).

  53. Chris Orr says:

    Would that be 12 consecutive world championships between those drivers for 2012 when Vettel takes this year championship.

    What a grid if it does eventuate!

    Has this ever happened before?

    Imagine if they got Hakkinen, Hill, Villeneuve, Prost and Mansell back for a charity race next year at one race along with all the world champions on the grid!

    1. Marc says:

      Add lauda, steward, brabham, jones, rosberg, piquet, fittipaldi, Andretti and any living wdc around. That is an event, “race” I would want to see.

  54. PeteM says:

    A coup for Williams if this happens yes based on the publicity they would get. Outside of that I wouldnt expect to much especially if the car is again uncompetative in 2012. Kimi has always appeared to be fragile to me and he wouldnt think twice about walking out if things arnt going his way.
    Overall would it be a step forward for Williams by hiring Kimi. For me its a no.

    1. CarlB says:

      Fragile? Do you remember the race i Germany, when the McLaren front wheels were shaking off? Kimi kept on racing till the car broke.

  55. James F says:

    As much as I’d love to see him back, I just don’t see it happening.

    He couldn’t be bothered to fly to Australia for the WRC (which he was supposed to have an interest in), he hates PR work, which would leave Williams with a mountain to climb in terms of sponsors (please give us millions so we can hire Kimi, no he won’t be available for a meet and greet), most drivers set the career benchmark at world champ/maybe a Ferrari drive, err…….done that.

    I just don’t see it happening. But then again, Schumacher’s return was equally unlikely.

    1. J.E.L. says:

      “He couldn’t be bothered to fly to Australia for the WRC”

      He should have paid it from his own pocket. Not cheap, you know?

  56. Craig says:

    To Lynn, any chance of a word? Re below:-

    28. Posted By: Fred
    Date: September 20th, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

    Hi James,

    On a totally unrelated note. Have you heard anything on the rumours linking Raikkonen with Williams?

    [Reply]

    Craig Reply:
    September 21st, 2011 at 12:48 am

    James, I also request any info you have on this.

    [Reply]

    Lynn Reply:
    September 21st, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Williams spokesman confirm the visit.
    But it has nothing to do with a F1 drive.
    Not going to happen.
    Its partial WRC & Le Mans for Raikkonen next year.

  57. FormulaWindTunnel says:

    Kimi to Ferrari in 2013 anyone???
    that would be awesome!!!

  58. Michael S says:

    Raikkonen is one of my all time favorites, but I sure hope the money he brings is used well so Williams can get up to speed. So sad to see them back of the pack always

  59. Anthony says:

    Only question would be regarding the long game.

    Surely Kimi doesn’t fancy spending 2 or 3 years hoping Williams can rise from the ashes. They will still be firmly in the mid pack next year and budget issues suggest the “new” ’14 car is unlikely to do a Brawn.

    Only way this would make sense is if there is something else on the brew for 2013. In this case the arranged marriage makes sense for both parties. Williams get guaranteed TV time and Kimi gets a year back to learn the Pirellis and generally get back in the groove.

    If one assumes we can rule of Ferrari what other top seats area available in 2013…..

    Oh, next time you see Joe, let him know it has just become a really silly season ;)

  60. Onyx says:

    I see a Mansell-Mclaren 1995 scenario coming! lol

  61. Steve C says:

    Does it really matter? Most UK viewers won’t be watching anyway.

    1. Chris says:

      Thanks for reminding me.

    2. Kristiane says:

      LOL good point.

  62. Trent says:

    If it’s true, I hope the deal is announced well before the end of the season so that Rubens can be given the great sendoff he deserves.

  63. David says:

    Thank you James for a level-headed article on this. I wonder if perhaps Kimi may himself take a new approach to sponsorship events.

    May I ask two questions?

    1. Have you been able to speak with Mike Coughlan, or can you (even) say?

    2. Assuming Kimi does return with Williams, what do you think he will find most challenging? (The new testing regime? The media attention? Etc.?)

  64. Emma says:

    I hope they make him cut his hair.

    1. Kristiane says:

      Maybe Vettel should cut first? Not taking the mickey myself here but I saw some F1 mag some while ago describing Vettel as “mop-head” lol

  65. Mikhail says:

    I guess this must be credible if James is reporting it but I just can’t bring myself to believe that Kimi would return to Formula 1 for a mid-field team. He’s even said that himself a while back. I mean, even Caterham Lotus (whatever) is snapping at Williams’ heels.

  66. paul Jennings says:

    I for one would love to see kimi back in F1, I wonder if Red Bull could or would get involved in the deal. Williams need cash but in order to make money you got to spend some or take a gamble, after a two year absence is Kimi a risk? it would be such a shame if the hard working Rubens loses his drive to Kimi but if Kimi is as fast as ever and is focused then it could be a good thing for Williams. It could even give Kimi a chance to promote himself into a Red Bull for 2013 but R.B is built around Vettel and they seem to like Webber. This is an interesting story, it’s the only one too in 2011. Also I think Williams would be totally stupid to give another rookie the 2012 drive over Rubens. Williams you have two choices Rubens or Kimi…

  67. Lynn says:

    Wow fantastic news! Now I just hope the deal gets done!

    If Kimi returns to F1, I will spend my savings & attend every single race in Asia in 2012.

    Thanks for the article, James.

  68. Lynn says:

    Maybe Peter Lim should invest in Williams shares too instead of just McLaren supercar if Kimi makes a comeback, haha. Fingers crossed!

  69. DK says:

    It is great news if this really comes true and I hope Williams has the cash the brains to produce a fast car for next season.

    I was hoping he can be Seb’s team mate though…

  70. Gate 21 says:

    As far as former F1 stars returning to the show after a spell on the sidelines, Kimi will certainly liven up the show, but I’d rather see Juan Pablo Montoya return to Williams.

  71. JohnBt says:

    Wow, fantastic! Was thinking for quite a while when will the F1 itch hit Kimi again. This is really great news! And welcome back Iceman.

  72. Prisoner Monkeys says:

    James, I disagree that Raikkonen may use a season with Williams as a springboard to another team for 2013. He was visibly bored by the mid-point of 2009 (though Massa’s accident stirred something in him), which led to questions about his commitment to the sport. After all, what does a driver do when he already has a World Championship? Another drivers’ title is nice, but if winning no longer means anything, why bother?

    I suspect the appeal of joining Williams lies in the way Williams are currently a shadow of their former selves. Ever since Adrian Newey left the team, they’ve been in a steady decline. It’s an unlikely scenario, but one race of attrition this season could see Williams fall to 10th in the Constructors’ standings – or worse. If Raikkonen is looking for a way to make Formula 1 mean something again, then I could really see the appeal in joining Williams to restore their former glory. It’s going to be an uphill battle and could take years, but if Raikkonen were committed and if he could pull it off, then he could leave Formula 1 with one hell of a legacy to his name as the man who took Williams back to the front of the grid. Who wouldn’t want to be remembered for that?

    1. KIMI's Fan says:

      Kimi was not bored….but they gave him a bad car with no support as long as Massa was around….even in 2008…the deal was for Massa to win the WDC and Kimi to support which the Massa did not Capitalise on….2009 Kimi got absolutely no support from Ferrari and all work went into Massa’s car again until his accident…i dont think Kimi was ever bored or demotivated…it was just politics in Ferrari that prevented his car from performing!!!!!

  73. rahma waty says:

    Kimi has a ton of supporter around the world and we called it “kimi army”
    since he took sabatical 2 years not in f1..we would see f1 sincerely but when hes come back in 2012 season
    we gonna come to support him in every race..

    come back kimi, we miss u so badly

  74. CGM says:

    Must admit that I’m a bit “torn” in regard to a possible return by Kimi.

    On one hand, it’d be great to once again be able to hear his no-nonsense post-race comments and car-to-pit radio would very interesting to say the least !
    On the other hand : another “old” driver returns which sorta makes it a bit harder for newbies to progress in their career.

    Conspiracy Theory No.1 : Mr.RedBull is bored with Toro Rosso and wants to sell it. So, he aligns himself with Williams Redbull and finances Kimi into that team. RedBull sponsorship of Williams to appear shortly. Just a thought of course ! ha ha !

  75. Gareth Price says:

    But have Williams got enough ice lollies?

    1. Sandeep says:

      Think all the stock at grand prix events are used up by mclaren to cool down a certain lewis hamilton…

      1. Gareth Price says:

        As long as there is an Ice Cream left for a certain commentator ;-)

  76. Rudy says:

    Waiting for confirmation. Kimi is one of the top drivers from the past decade. Although impossible, I would like to see him alongside Alonso and show the Spaniard how to cut it out.

    1. Chris says:

      I’m a huge Kimi fan but would not like to see him along side Alonso. Ferarri is Ferandos team now. If they’d have done with Kimi what they are doing with Alonso in building the team around him and supporting him for the championship wright from the start we probably wouldn’t be talking about a Kimi comeback. We would probably be talking about his retirement as a double or triple world champion.

      1. Lynn says:

        Totally agree with you Chris!

  77. Olga Perez says:

    How realistic are the chances of Bruno Senna ending up at Williams, or is it just pure speculation with Senna definitely not in Williams’ sights?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys says:

      It’s a bit hard to judge, since Senna has only had two races with Renault. Williams would no doubt be looking at how he performs in comparison to Vitaly Petrov as the surest sign of his performance, but Senna effectively took himself out of contention in Belgium and Liuzzi broadsided Petrov on the first lap in Italy. A lot of a potential future at Williams will hinge on Senna’s performances at Renault for the rest of the year. The catch is that if Senna does well, Renault will move to keep him within in the team and Williams will miss out. And if they leave it too long, Raikkonen may lose interest.

      For now, all we know is that Williams are looking at Senna for 2012. No doubt there’s a lot going on behind closed doors that we aren’t privvy to. But it seems Raikkonen is their first preference, and unless Senna can match Maldonado dollar-for-dollar, he’s probably going to have to look elsewhere.

    2. paul Jennings says:

      Bruno is on a Williams short list, but that depends on kubica’s availabily for 2012.

  78. Nick F says:

    If he wanted to come back to F1 he should have made a play for the Renault seat. If he had done well he could have then stayed with them (depending on what happens with Kubica) or used it as a spring board to try and get into another team.

    It’s all very interesting. I assume he is prepared to take a massive pay cut to come back. Is that right James? How much would Williams be able to pay him?

  79. Enigima says:

    I can almost bet my house that Kimi isn’t coming back to F1. He just isn’t interested, for some reason people find this hard to understand.

    In any event he is doing a great job in WRC this season, if he continues his development curve he could be challenging for podiums one of these days. There is just no need to get back in F1 with a team like Williams. I can see Kimi trying Lemans for a bit of a track racing fix, but he isn’t coming back to F1.

  80. mohamed south africa says:

    james ive read somewhere that the reason kimi went backwards in 2008 was that ferrari was certain that they were going to clinch the title and shifted their focus to massa since kimi won the previous year. And thats the reason that he did so well after massa had that unfortunate accident. Any truth in this?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, why favour one driver over another, especially the less well paid one?

      1. Sandeep says:

        It was quite clear that midway through the 2008 season the car shifted development wise towards massa’s side.. Only after massa’s crash in2009 did ferrari focus on kimi and he delivered the results

      2. Lady Snowcat says:

        James..

        You are forgetting the Michael influence at Marinello during that point and that was certainly in support of Felipe…

        There is no doubt that Kimi’s replacement’s first stipulation was that Michael stay away from the team…

      3. Brad says:

        I agree. After Kimi’s victory in Malasia, the developments they brought in suited Massa more. Why??? Kimi use to give his input or feedback and would shrug it off when they did’nt achived that. I think Lady Snowcat has a point in that Massa was Schumie’s protege, which means his influence would have steer direction into Massa’s favour.

      4. Lynn says:

        Alonso is much smarter (more shrewd) than Kimi for sure!

      5. CarlB says:

        I think Kimi didn’t lick. I saw a program, where Kimi was driving Ferrari street cars with some Finnish journalists . Luca interrupted, wanting Kimi for something. Kimi pushed Luca away with both hands on Lucas chest. He said: I’m occupied, go away.
        At that moment Ferrari focus changed.

      6. Kristiane says:

        Whoa lol… I honestly quite cannot believe that!

      7. jonas says:

        Kimi did not push Luca. That was Gino Rosato, who happens to be Kimi’s good friend.

        For example, they’ve played ice hockey together, and they clearly got along well with each other.

        By the way, Gino Rosato left Ferrari soon after Kimi left.

      8. JJ says:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbI93pXXGvk

        There is that finnish tv-show episode were Luca comes with helicopter when Kimi should go and make him welcome, but deside not going insted. Maybe Luca and Ferrari do not like that habite :) I like thougth, respect!

      9. Jinx says:

        Not forgetting that already in 2008, Santander was in talks with Ferrari to be their sponsor and a certain spanish driver was out of macca and dying to get into a red-hot car… a lot of things fell quietly in place and swaying the championship fight to suit Massa was ok since Massa was cheaper and it would effectively show to the public what kimi is now known for (lazy, unmotivated bla bla bla). It also helped a great deal that journalists who didn’t like Kimi also helped ferrari taint Kimi’s good name. People always compare teammates, so this was the strategy to justify kimi’s removal.

        It’s funny how since then, Ferrari still have not gotten a winning car with the best developer, leader, etc, on their payroll! This top rate driver has gotten everyone’s support, and Luca also got rid (getting rid) of every trace of the old team…you know what they say about Karma…

  81. Sandeep says:

    Quickest since montoya? Kimi was better than montoya …Probably quickest since the great ayrton senna..

    1. paul Jennings says:

      Really as quick as Senna? one of the quickest drivers since Senna but I agree he was better than Montoya.

  82. mo kahn says:

    The last top driver to drive for Williams was Ayrton Senna.. since then, they have suffered a driver deficit, of course Hill & Jacques won world titles for they had by far the best car on the grid. Still, they were not in the top line lions of F1 like Mansel, Prost and Senna, however, Kimi is of that mold.
    The Current William drivers are only driving within the limits of the car, what Williams needs is someone who drives beyond its car’s capabilities, which is what is needed by Williams to motivate themselves to get back to where they truly deserve to be.. that is a front running team.

    On Kimi’s front: He was demotivated for political reasons, it was complete disrespect on Ferrari’s part to dismiss Kimi with such disregard. Anyone, including you or me would react in the same manner if not in a worse manner. Yet, he won Spa that year. Since, Jean Todt, Ferrari has been in tatters, Tactically they have been laughable, even this year, I have seen them bring Alonso when he should have been left out. So, my question is Ferrari has still not accomplished anything since the Kimi era in terms of World Championship.

    Coming back to Kimi, what he needs equally as much as money is respect and appreciation and a political free environment. And if Williams can provide that, then you can expect Williams challenging the likes of Ferraris, Mclaren and Redbull however, have far superior cars for Williams to challenge just yet. But with the motivation that Kimi would bring to the team through his sheer speed, you can’t count them out to challenge the likes of Redbull and Mclaren. For Williams is a wonderful team.

    And yes… Kimi is loved by all… so please bring him back :)

  83. james b says:

    I love this. I imagine a 2013 line up of

    Red Bull – Vettel Raikonnen
    Ferrari – Alonso Perez
    Mclaren – Hamilton Button
    Mercedes – Schumacher Rosberg

    Not the worst line up!!! Imagine if they all produce comeptitive cars and we get more battles like Schumi and Hammy in Monza!!!

    1. Lewis J says:

      Please tell me Schumi will have retired again by 2013. A great driver for sure, but I would much rather see a Rosberg/Hamilton line-up at Mercedes and Button/Senna at McLaren in 2013.
      Vettel/Raikonnen would be an awesome line-up at Red Bull, but I think Kimi would blow Seb away, so that will never happen as long as Dr Marko is calling the shots.

      1. James Allen says:

        On the contrary- the word is that he’s thinking of signing on for another year in 2013.

      2. James b says:

        I agree. I am expecting an announcement soon as the last thing he wants is questions throughout next year.

        Many thanks for the info I will go to sleep with a smile now! :-)

  84. Phil R says:

    Hi James

    Great to see you able to firm the facts up on it all. What numbers are bouncing round the Singapore paddock for his salary?

    Also is Bernie involved in this at all? I always got the impression that Bernie wasn’t bothered about Kimi staying in 2010, so didn’t push other teams into taking him, whereas had it been Alonso or Hamilton, he would have made sure they stayed in the sport somehow.

  85. Edward Valentine says:

    I would really like to know what Kimi might expect to be paid if he were to secure a 2012 drive with Williams? Surely Williams could not afford more than 2-3 million dollars which I’m sure is a massive drop when compared to his most recent retainer…it’s not like he is strapped for cash anyway.

    1. James Allen says:

      Even if they pay him what they pay Rubens, which is significantly more than the figure you quote, the team would get more from the sponsors by having a champion in the car

  86. Darren says:

    I wonder who will sponsor Williams….. Walls, Ben & Jerrys, Hagen Das

    1. Kristiane says:

      HAhAhaHAHhAHAHAH :D

  87. Prisoner Monkeys says:

    Okay, crazy idea:

    If Raikkonen is serious about getting back into Formula 1, but wants a fast car, maybe he could go to Force India. They’re currently 6th in the WCC, though they have got a fight on their hands; Sauber won’t let the place go willingly, if they can help it. But Williams is currently only 9th, and faces an uphill battle to recover lost ground. If Adrian Sutil is in talks with Williams, Force India could cut him loose and scoop up Raikkonen. That way, Force India get a fast driver, and Williams get a committed one.

    1. paul Jennings says:

      If Sutil joined Williams, F.I would promote Hulkenburg, Kim’s chances of joining the F1 grid for 2012 would be over.

  88. Charlie B says:

    Kimi turned down deals at McLaren and Mercedes last year, so it seems like a backwards step.

    The Williams car is not likely to be a front runner, the pay wont be as good and Kimi has said he doesn’t like how F1 is with the DRS and such.

    But if Kimi is really serious about getting back into the sport then really this is his only option. All the good seats are taken, and another year out wouldn’t do him any good. I think it will be interesting to see how he gets on in the midfield, how racy he is. That is assuming it all happens, as I thought Kimi went to the factory looking to drive in Le Mans when Williams get more involved with Jaguar.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not quite true. He was close to a McLaren deal for 2010, but Whitmarsh went for Button instead when it became clear he was free

      1. jonas says:

        Well, Kimi did say in an interview that “there is no point signing a stupid deal”. Kimi really used the word stupid. He was very clear about it. I don’t know the reason but he clearly felt that McLaren had offered him a stupid contract.

        We do not know at what point did Button come in to this. As far as I can tell, it may have been before or after Kimi was offered “a stupid contract” by McLaren.

        Maybe McLaren tried to get him cheap considering Kimi was still getting Ferrari (Santander, Alonso’s Santa Claus Botin) money for 2010? That should be none of McLaren’s business so if that happened then I think Kimi was rightfully upset by it.

  89. Terro says:

    These news has been out since Kimi lefted F1, but if this really happens, I have to ask, WHY Wlliams? I’m Finnish person and I really can’t see what is the point for Kimi? Only this will make a sense if Red Bull connection is there in long point future..but why Williams.. sorry guys..Im huge Kimi fan but this is like Loeb goes to Stobart..;)

  90. Jimmi C says:

    Be glad to see Kimi back, assuming he still has the speed (I don’t want to see him trawling around picking up the cheques.)

    I don’t get why people regard Kimi as boring. He’s not boring – look at his lively private life – he’s just bored by F1 politics and the endless toe-the-party-line interviews with the media.

  91. ttwan says:

    Let’s hope hard he will come back! Thanks for the great piece James!

  92. Deon says:

    It is great news to hear he might be back on the grid next year. What is not so great is that it will most likely be in a very uncompetitive Williams if it happens…Saying that I love Kimi and Williams, and if they can win together I will be one of the happiest men alive. On a different note, I still cannot believe how many people moan about his personality! What on earth does that have to do with driving a car fast? I much prefer people like him who are quiet and just goes about his business with little fuss…Actually his style might suit Williams which are a no nonsense team, led by people who love and are real racers and who only cares about that. Hope it happens…But I doubt it…

    Great Site by the way James. Just found it today, going to become my favourite F1 site!

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks – tell your friends!

  93. Tom says:

    Hi James,

    Do we know if there’s been any change in his management team since he left F1? I seem to recall Peter Sauber described Robertson as a “sofa salesman” or something similar!

    I think the biggest barrier to a return will be over ambitious wage demands from his management. And Williams are definitely not known for spending big on drivers!

  94. Alex says:

    Dear goodness gracious me I hope this happens and everything works the way it should and he can win a championship. If he doesn’t I’d be fine with that only if Robert Kubica was to beat him.

  95. Simeon says:

    I like that Kimi is back!

    He has one of import attribute; he never explanations! If you compare Alonso, Fernando has allways something disease: teammate, car, tyres, Hamilton, tactic, weather, track and so on…

    And must keep in mine; Kimi is very fast!!

    So you are welcome Kimi!!!

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s not back yet. Close, but not back until it’s signed

      1. Lynn says:

        Close? But Robertson & Kimi’s PR guy deny any negotiation. James, is Robertson still managing Kimi?

    2. Kristiane says:

      +1

      I recall a race in Canada, I think it was back in 2008 (could be ’09) when Hamilton crashed into the back of him in the pits with a red light. Kimi got out, didn’t go spastic but instead kept his mouth shut, patted Hamilton on the shoulder and pointed to the red lights. Point made crystal clear – “Are you blind, Ham?”

      As someone said previously, just because a guy is quiet doesn’t mean he is not motivated or not interested. He makes his point through other means other than using his mouth to blabber bullshit out.

      1. jonas says:

        You are absolutely right.

        Don’t expect people to start behaving much differently if they step out of their home country.

        Some people judge Kimi as if he is not Finnish at all. Like some Italians even at Ferrari wanted him to learn Italian just because he works in the English-speaking! Italian race team. If that’s how you want your drivers then hire only Italians. Don’t feed us crap that a driver is not good if he doesn’t speak your language – you knew Kimi did not speak Italian so why did you hire him. He’s not going to learn it just to massage your egos.

  96. Mizone says:

    James can you shed any light on this article?

    Manager: No F1 negotiations for Räikkönen
    http://www.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/268801/manager-no-f1-negotiations-for-raikkonen/

    1. James Allen says:

      No. That’s not what we hear from sources in UK and Finland

      1. Spinster says:

        James is Kulta your finnish source or do you have any other reliabel finnish source?

        Thx for the insight anyway!

  97. Janet says:

    Let’s not forget James never said Kimi was definately coming back. All he said is that there were talks and that they somewhat advanced. But until he signs he is not coming back. I don’t think his management will confirm the talks if they are in the midst of salary/PR negotiations. Why would they? I for one hope to see him back, but if not we still have some fabulous racers to watch! I look forward to 2012!

  98. Carl says:

    I’m so tired of all those who whine on Kimi!
    Here we have one of the world’s fastest F1 drivers, look what Kimi performed earlier.
    It is very low that year after Ferrari tripped him, says he is no leader.
    What it really says is that Ferrari does not have a strong leader.
    A leader’s job is to “lift” their employees, what does this say about Ferrari’s leadership.
    I have been in top management For many years, and I think is a lot of bullshit coming out of Ferrari, They do not have A good leader since Todt! a milijonindustri which says that the driver will lead the team. If they poured from the individual they won more World Championships!
    Why dont you talk about the team leadership? How is the best Team Principal, why dose he get out the best of his people? that is the question!

  99. jonas says:

    Kimi’s Finnish assistant, Riku Kuvaja, denied any negotiations with anybody.

    But he has apparently also said to the reporter that all options are still open. There is no quote of him saying this. The reporter included F1 as a possible choice.

    So… :)

    Source: http://www.iltalehti.fi/formulat/2011092614459242_fo.shtml

  100. herowassenna says:

    I honestly can’t wait. I never rated Raikkonen, and one of the most disheartening things was Ferrari taking him as a replacement for Schumi.
    I suspect alot of the “lazy” comments about Kimi are in comparison to Schumi when he was at Ferrari.
    Alot of people have different ideas about car development in Massa’s favour during their time together, but if Kimi had been more pro-active, theres no way the engineers would have followed Massa’s lead.
    Look at the team now. Alonso has galvanised it and is leading them in the right direction. 2010, British GP he is 47 points behind, yet still declared he’d win. He gave the team direction and belief, and, but for a fumbled strategy they would have been champions. Massa didn’t stand a chance…

    So Kimi at Williams, bored and struggling with tyres and lack of testing being beaten regularly by Maldonado… Will Red Bull come in for him??
    If they were truly that stupid, I couldn’t wait for Vettel to show us how over-rated Kimi actually is.
    For all the people who claim no-one doesn’t want Kimi back, let me be the first, I hope he doesn’t.

    1. Spinster says:

      sorry but a very short sightened view of you… I think you’ve to talk to some engineers and than start to talk…

  101. icemangirl says:

    SIGN the Deals, kimi

    WE MISS YOU LOADS IN THE TRACK

  102. Joe Mallinson says:

    JA,

    The Raikkonen deal seems to be leaning towards the NO outcome. Have the Roberstons always been tight lipped when it comes to negotiations or what do you evaluate from Steve’s and Kimi’s spokeperson comments recently in the media about no talks being held with anyone for 2012?

    Thanks

  103. Dom P says:

    ICEMAN! THY SECOND COMING WE AWAIT!

    Ok here’s the math and putting all the permutations and combinations together:

    Kimi’s not in it for the money. He’s got plenty of the greenbacks and where it comes from they’re multiplying in plenty and he still figures on the world sports rich list. RBR is a thinly veiled Renault works team and Red Bull has been a longtime Iceman backer. Won’t be surprised if the Williams deal with Renault included KR in some sorts – to use 2012 as a practice and warm up year before options in 2013 open up. If not RBR in 2013, Norbert Haug, who’s been close to Kimi off the track, could open up options in Mercedes as well, if not McLaren. Overall, the sport benefits with Kimi. WRC saw a big spike in viewers and following since he joined and he’s still the most searched racing driver on the internet (check the results Google throws up). Though not openly stated, BE is pushing for it as well. F1 loves global sponsors and sponsors love Kimi. Here in India at least, apart from Schumi’s name, Kimi’s the most known. His McLaren and Ferrari styled helmets are still the rage and in huge demand – even two years after he’s been shown on Star Sports – in all the major cities I’ve visited. He’s realized he left too early and has still so much to achieve here. 2012! ICEMAN!

  104. Tyler says:

    Very cool. Maybe at a more down to earth team like Williams he wont be chastized for being seen sitting in the garage having a coke and a popsicle.

  105. Darren says:

    I think there are lots of reasons why people dislike Raikkonen, his natural talent, his desire not to place F1 above everything else in his life, that he went to Ferrari (Schumacher chose to retire, they would have kept him over Massa without a doubt), that he is over rated (check out the 2003 season, he nearly won the WDC in a two year old car or his drive at Suzuka on ’05 or his win at Spa in ’09), that he is lazy (not sure how they know that unless they are team managers however I have never heard a team manager say that) or that he decided not to carry on racing in torrential rain (the only driver who showed common sense in my opinion). One thing none of them can deny however is that with the exception of possibly Hamilton, he is still the most popular driver in F1 and he hasn’t driven in F1 since 2009.

  106. elie says:

    James, you got any updates on this?.

    Thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      I think it depends on a large piece of business Williams is trying to do in Qatar. FW has been there for three weeks….

  107. Daniel says:

    Its great news if Its true!! F1 hasnt been the same since Kimi left. I read rumors that Renault also is unterested in kimi!.. Can that be true?.. But i dont care!! Just want him back to F1 !!… And for 2013 take webbers seat!!

  108. Robert Powers says:

    Both need to be back at the front- a good possibility …gonna be funny seeing Kimi in a flapping Williams jacket complaining about the cold in South Texas next year!

  109. Janet says:

    Hi James,
    The fact that a Kimi to Williams deal has not been announced, leads me to believe that the likelihood of Kimi coming back to F1 is quickly disappearing. Can you shed any light on this? That is if there is any light to shed?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s in the balance, definitely.

  110. Joe Mallinson says:

    Hi James,
    Do you think Bottas has a chance to get a race seat for 2012, also Raikkonen’s manager’s were spotted in Abu Dhabi – when do you think the driver line up will be announced?

    1. James Allen says:

      Maybe not for 2012, but he seems to be rated

  111. Logesh devakar says:

    Hi James,

    Can you please let us know of whats happening to Kimi-Williams deal?Since it is looking like it might fall apart..

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